Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar at the 2013 BET Awards Reuters

Kendrick Lamar has surprised fans this week by releasing his anticipated second studio album a week early.

Titled To Pimp A Butterfly, the Swimming Pools rapper had initially planned to drop the LP on 23 March but it arrived unexpectedly on Sunday night (15 March). However, the owner of Lamar's Top Dawg Entertainment music group appears to have accused the musician's record label Interscope of releasing the album accidentally.

The 27-year-old announced the release of the album, which is a follow-up to his critically-acclaimed debut Good Kid, m.A.A.d City, with a string of cryptic tweets and a link to download the record on iTunes and to stream on Spotify. Lamar's mysterious tweets included:

The 16-track album features collaborations with Snoop Dogg, James Fauntleroy and Ronald Isley, in addition to recent singles The Blacker The Berry and i, which won the best rap song Grammy award in February.

Understandably, Twitter has exploded with reactions to the early release with none other than Shake It Off singer Taylor Swift revealing herself as an unlikely fan when she tweeted:

Other fans wrote:

While many are under the assumption that Kendrick pulled a Beyonce by releasing the album without warning, the CEO of Top Dawg Entertainment has accused Interscope of accidentally dropping the record. Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith tweeted last night: "I WOULD LIKE 2 PERSONALLY THANK @Interscope FOR F*****G UP OUR RELEASE... SOMEBODY GOTS 2 PAY 4 THIS MISTAKE !!!! #TOP. This is the kraziest s**t ever."

Lamar's fans have eagerly awaited the hip hop star's new music since the release of his chart-topping debut album in 2012, which spawned multiple Grammy nominations and hit singles including Poetic Justice and B***h, Don't Kill My Vibe.

The Compton rapper has not responded to the claims of an accidental release.